NEW YORK CITY—As if Amazon and all the others weren't enoughcompetition in the e-commerce wars, along comes a new entrant thattargets what had been a bastion of brick-and-mortar shopping: theluxury boutique.

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Spring, a new app for iPhone and iPod touch,offers what it calls a “curated community of brands” that includeluxury and emerging designers including Oscar de la Renta,Tracey Reese and Jason Wu, beauty, etc.Shoppers can enter each designer's site or by category, and buywith a swipe.

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"Consumers love the seamless life apps offer, but nothingexisted like that for shopping," said Alan Tisch,co-founder and CEO in the app's launch announcement. "Spring is atruly unique retail experience for both customers and brands thatmakes going shopping on your phone easy and exciting."

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What makes Spring a bit different from Amazon,et al. is that the brand controls the presentation and inventory tobe posted. And the app works with the designers' e-commerce system.There's no pesky (and pricey) storage of goods in Spring-owneddistribution centers.

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In the name of research, I downloaded the app and clickedaround. It really is geared to fashionistas and those who know whatbrands they want to follow. And the brands with a few exceptions doskew toward younger adults, who already live much of their livesonline.

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Not all of the brands are world-renowned. But names such asMarc Jacobs, Zac Posen, BLK DNM and OliverPeoples (all listed as “coming soon”) have been openingstores in major cities (and likely would follow the usual path ofopening in luxury malls right after.) And not all of the names arehigh-end: among the list are Joe Fresh andWarby Parker, the latter a click-to-brickconvert.

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Will Spring be another tool in a brand's arsenal? Who knows? Butapps such as this should be examined as a possible competitor – anda possible source of new retailers.

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